Objective: To examine the relationship between anxiety disorders and depression and various somatic health problems in the general population.
Design: Cross-sectional study with survey methods and clinical examinations.
Setting: The Health Study of Nord-Trøndelag, Norway (the HUNT study).
Participants: 60869 individuals aged 20-89 years.
Main outcome measures: Anxiety disorder, depression and their comorbidity are categorized based on scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. All somatic health variables are self-reported, while blood pressure, height and weight are measured. Multivariate nominal logistic regression analyses are used to investigate the relationship between somatic variables and the anxiety/depression categories.
Results: Most somatic health variables show a stronger association with comorbid anxiety disorder/depression than with anxiety disorder or depression alone. About one-third of individuals reporting somatic health problems also have anxiety disorder and/or depression.
Conclusion: Somatic health problems carry a high risk of both anxiety disorder and depression. Active identification and treatment of these co-occurring mental disorders are of practical importance.